Wednesday, 10 October 2012

Building and Tinkering

To follow along with Keeler school, we started utilising some Lego that we found in our building.

Rejuvenating the Lego 

When we found the Lego it was pretty disgusting. Years of sitting in a classroom gathering dust. So after a thorough washing at home and a long time to air dry, the Lego came back to school and put into some great use!

I had a great helper throughout the cleaning process

The Project

Two of our grade 1 and 2 teachers wanted to use our learning commons to divide their classes into smaller groups to do some building centres for the grade 2 science unit, Building Things. The learning commons hosted the Lego building and iPad Lego building centres and the other two groups were back in their classrooms. We gave the students some free building time so they could play and tinker with each of the materials (Lego, iPad, Straws & pipe cleaners, popsicle sticks & modelling clay, foam building blocks, and smaller wooden blocks)

After every student had a time to play with each of the material and build something of their choice, the task was to build something specific with each of the different materials. This what they were asked to build:

  • Lego - something that moves
  • Lego App - some kind of box or container
  • Straws & pipe cleaners - a creature
  • Popsicle sticks and modelling clay - a shelter
  • Foam Building Blocks - a piece of playground equipment
  • Small Wooden Blocks - a tall tower
What we found out was that the kids (in general) were way more creative in the free building sessions. When we put certain parameters on the building tasks, their creations seemed dulled down and lacking creativity.


As I began working with these two classes, I was also beginning a similar project with another grade 1-2 class. This time we changed the project around to see if it would make a difference with the quality of learning. Here's what we did (and are still working on as it's continues to progress):
  1. Each student had a chance to play and free build with each of the materials.
  2. We will then have a class discussion about what we all made (using the photos they took with the iPads) and why they made it - This will help develop the assessment criteria for the next part of the project.
  3. Students will co-create a target rubric of the assessment criteria.
  4. We will watch some video and multimedia of what other people have built with some of the materials (this is the expert portion).
  5. The final task will be to build 3 different models. Students will choose their materials and also the structure, or 'thing', they want to build. We will also generate a list of possible 'things' they might want to build, but not limit them to this list.
  6. Students will be assessed according to the student generated criteria. This could be done as a self assessment, by their peers, and/or the teachers.
Here are some more pictures and videos of what they created during free building: